Easy Steps to Talk to a Loved One with Alzheimer’s

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, knowing what to do next and how to best take care of their changing needs can easily become overwhelming. Alzheimer’s is a diagnosis that affects the whole family, including the person’s close friends, and although there are many movies depicting the memory loss experience, nothing can prepare you for experiencing it first-hand. 

Our Tapestries Memory Care team at UMC at Pitman understands that families can feel a little frustrated and stuck when it comes to communicating with a loved one who has Alzheimer’s. We’ve put together some tips that we hope will help you keep the important lines of communication open and active:

  • Try to avoid asking short-term memory questions. People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s often exhibit short-term memory loss as a symptom, so they may have trouble recalling details from events that recently happened. For example, if you ask them what they had for dinner the night before, they may not be able to recall their meal or if they ate at all. Being unable to recall somewhat basic information can cause your loved one to become frustrated and agitated. 
  • Don’t correct them. They ask for sugar, but you know they meant to ask for salt instead. While it’s tempting to correct them until they repeat the correct word, people with Alzheimer’s often mix up common words or forget them altogether. Instead of saying “No, you need salt, not sugar” we recommend ignoring these small mix-ups. 
  • Try not to be alarmed by aggressive behavior. Losing your memory is a very difficult process, and people with dementia often exhibit aggressive behavior when they don’t recognize their environment or when they find they are unable to communicate what they truly want to say. Acting aggressively may be the only way they can express their frustration or discomfort, so try to pay extra  attention to what’s frustrating them when they get aggressive.
  • Don’t patronize them or talk down to them. Your loved one is an adult who deserves care and respect, so talking down to them or using baby talk can make them feel insulted and patronized. It also won’t help them communicate more efficiently with you, and instead may have the opposite effect.

Memory care in Pitman NJ

If you feel that your loved one with Alzheimer’s can no longer live safely at home, or if you’re no longer able to provide the level of care they need to be safe and healthy, it may be time to consider a specialized memory care neighborhood. At Pitman, our Tapestries Memory Care neighborhood has been designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and our highly experienced Life Enrichment Team Specialists (LETS) work with each resident to deal positively with their memory loss. 

Whether your loved one is in the early stages of memory loss or their dementia has advanced, at Tapestries we help our residents communicate their needs, thoughts and feelings, while developing their strengths and capabilities. We understand the communication process can be frustrating, but our LETS are trained to maximize our residents’ quality of life at all stages. 

For more information about Tapestries Memory Care at UMC at Pitman, or if you have any questions, please contact our team today.